One of the most rewarding experiences of life on planet earth is watching our sunrise and set over the horizon. The event often delivers spectacular and color light shows as the sun’s rays bounce off clouds and penetrate layers of our earth’s atmosphere.
In this photo taken in January 2022 by NASA from the International Space Station, you can see the first rays of an orbital sunrise as seen from the International Space Station as it orbited above Venezuela.
Why is the sky at sunset and sunrise red and orange?
According to the Library of Congress, the colors we see in the sky are due to the rays of sunlight being split into colors of the spectrum as they pass through the atmosphere and ricochet off the water vapor and particles in the atmosphere. The amounts of water vapor and dust particles in the atmosphere are good indicators of weather conditions. They also determine which colors we will see in the sky.
“During sunrise and sunset the sun is low in the sky, and it transmits light through the thickest part of the atmosphere. A red sky suggests an atmosphere loaded with dust and moisture particles,” the LOC said. “We see the red, because red wavelengths (the longest in the color spectrum) are breaking through the atmosphere. The shorter wavelengths, such as blue, are scattered and broken up.”
Red sky at night, sailors delight?
When we see a red sky at night, this means that the setting sun is sending its light through a high concentration of dust particles. This usually indicates high pressure and stable air coming in from the west. Basically, good weather will follow, the LOC added.
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